Hopefully Amazon will be up to the challenge of dealing with this worrying trend:
It says people are even selling software that automates the KDP spamming process… how sad.
They mention several suggestions to deal with the spam problem, including using a “social network” approach, as well asking people to pay a fee to list their books. The latter idea isn’t as bad as it sounds – as long as it’s just a token amount, like $5, it’d be enough to make spammers think twice, but not be an undue burden on the rest of us.
It’s not an easy problem to solve, and is one faced by other online giants. Google, for instance, is in a constant battle with outright spammers, and so-called “SEO experts” who try and game Google’s results to position products better in the search results. Some of these people play by the rules, but others do not, and Google spends a lot of effort trying to make sure that the results you get are the ‘best’ in terms of the content. Paypal and eBay also dedicate massive amounts of time, money and effort to fighting fraud, with the unfortunate side effect of many horror stories about Paypal freezing people’s accounts with no recourse.
Indeed, that may be one lesson that Amazon can learn from this: if you start automating spam-fighting, once in a while you’ll get a “false positive”, meaning that a real author gets flagged as spam. That will not be a pleasant experience, so the better Amazon can deal with it, the happier everyone will be.